I really don’t know why this has taken me so long but I have finally gotten around to interviewing my fellow naturals here at my university (Hebei University in Baoding, China). My first feature is of my friend Kado/Ricardo who sports a very eye catching fro which is usually what everyone first notices about him. I have only known him a month or so and it didn’t take long for our conversations to veer towards hair care. So we recently did a little photoshoot and had a little chat about his hair, meet Kado!
What is your name?
My full name is Edejanio Ricardo Corrcia Silva Fortes but everyone calls me Kado or Ricardo. My Chinese name is 利卡多(Likaduo).
Tell me a bit about where you come from?
I come from Cape Verde which is a country made up of 10 islands, one of which is uninhabited. I live in the capital city, Praia, which is on the southern island of Santiago. The weather is great because it’s always summer! Majority of Cape Verdeans are of mixed race. (Cape Verdeans are mulattos or mestiços in Portuguese, who have mixed African and European origins; another term is creole meaning mixed black and white descent). For example, beside having Portuguese and Guinea Bissau origins, there is Japanese on my father’s mother’s side of the family.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak 5 languages: Portuguese, Chinese, English, my mother tongue Crioulo and a little Spanish and I can understand french.
What brought you to Baoding, China?
After completing high school, I worked in a design firm and played semi professional volleyball for a couple of years then decided to apply for a Chinese scholarship in Art and Design, got it and here I am! It will be 2 years in September and I have 3 more to go. I lived in Beijing for a year where I learned Chinese language then was transferred to Hebei University here in Baoding to begin my degree after passing Level 4 of China’s official Mandarin certification exam (HSK).
What’s your impression of China so far?
I think China is a place with a lot of opportunities if you know where to go and who to talk to. It’s a great country overall but of course has it’s flaws. It is for example the most ignorant country I’ve been to simply because they haven’t been exposed to the outside world enough. As a black person I’m often getting stared at or asked crazy questions about Africa. It’s also tough here for foreigners (all foreign races not just black) when it comes to emergencies simply because of the language and culture. I do like ancient China and traditional Chinese culture, I’m not really enamoured by the modern China. I love their tea culture, ancient art, buildings etc. I think that is what makes China so unique and interesting. I also admire the discipline and dedication of Chinese people, they don’t do half measures, they put their all into everything they do and see it through to the end.
How long have you been growing out your hair and why?
I have been growing my hair out since I came to China, so almost 2 years. I decided to do this because I’d always wanted to try growing out my hair, but what really motivated me was the difficulty in finding barbers who can deal with black/African hair.
What is your daily hair routine?
I shampoo it everyday during my morning shower. When I get out of the shower I don’t dry it, instead I shake my head to get excess water out then apply hair lotion or conditioner and use my hands to manipulate my hair into tiny coils and let it air dry. It takes about 10 minutes to dry. In winter I use a towel to dry it then throw on a beanie because it’s too cold to have my hair out.
What products do you use?
I’m not particular about hair products or labels, I just pick up whatever is available and cheap in the stores. My staples are shampoo and conditioner. That’s it!
What are your future hair plans?
I figure I have 3 options: cut my hair, leave it as is or loc my hair. I’m leaning towards locs though. As soon as I can find someone here in China to do it I will try it.
What do you think of natural hair on women?
I love afros, I like the natural look because I think it’s really beautiful if you know how to manage and style it. I can tell that a lot (not all) of African girls don’t like their hair so they’re always altering it and doing things to it to avoid it being in it’s natural state.
I think black people (women and men alike) should learn to really appreciate their natural hair because it is very unique, we are the only race that have this type of kinky hair on earth.